A police officer on Long Island is accused of beating a man during a traffic stop so severely that he needed surgery for broken bones on his face.
The Nassau County officer, Vincent LoGiudice, was released without bail after pleading not guilty to assault Tuesday as hundreds of fellow cops rallied outside the courthouse, cheering for him.
Prosecutors said LoGiudice beat 20-year-old Kyle Howell during a stop on April 25, breaking his nose and the bones around his eye. A video obtained by his attorneys from a nearby business shows the encounter, although the view of Howell inside the vehicle is somewhat obscured by a glare off the windshield.
Police alleged Howell tried to swallow a bag of marijuana; all charges against him were later dropped.
Howell said he was reaching for his paycheck as it started to fly out an open door when the officers restrained him.
The police union has said the officers were trying to restrain a suspect who had refused to comply with their orders.
LoGiudice's lawyer maintained Tuesday "that video does not show what was going on inside that car."
It's not clear whether the other officer is facing charges.
--Greg Cergol contributed to this story